View of the Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes from the Mediterranean Sea
Cannes is one of the most beautiful cities in the French Riviera. The city is famous throughout the world for its international film festival, which takes part in spring. However, there are many more things to see and do in the Mediterranean city year-round. Whether you choose to visit off-season to beat the crowds or want to visit during the height of the summer season, there are some attractions you simply cannot miss.
To give you an idea of all the attractions the city has to offer, here is our guide to spending 48 hours in Cannes!
10 am – Ile Saint-Marguerite
Typical pine and eucalyptus trees found on Ile-Saint-Marguerite. By Christophe Finot
Start of your visit to Cannes by taking a ferry to Ile Saint-Marguerite, which is the largest of the Lérins islands: a group of small islands just off the coast of Cannes. From Ile Saint-Marguerite you’ll have a gorgeous view of Cannes across the bay.
The island itself features pine and eucalyptus forests, as well as Fort Royal, the fortress prison where the famous “Man in the Iron Mask” was imprisoned in the 17th century. At the fort you can visit the former prison cells, as well as the Musée de la Mer, where you can learn more about the history of the island and the Mediterranean Sea.
You can catch a ferry to the island from the Quai Max Laubeuf next to the picturesque harbor Le Vieux Port.
4 pm – Palais des Festivals et des Congrès
Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals
After your visit to Ile Saint-Marguerite, take a stroll past Le Vieux Port of Cannes and you’ll find the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès on the eastern side of the harbor.
This striking building is the site of the annual Cannes Film Festival, and hosts exhibitions and other events throughout the year.
You will also find Cannes’ own Walk of Fame here where over 400 celebrity handprints decorate the sidewalk next to the Palais.
The area to the northeast of the Palais features many boutiques and department stores, so if you don’t want to miss out on the shopping opportunities, make your way north to the Rue d’Antibes and surrounding area.
7 pm – Boulevard de la Croisette
Boulevard de la Croisette and the Cannes harbor
End the day in style by walking south to the iconic Boulevard de la Croisette, where you will find more famous shops and restaurants. The Intercontinental Carlton Cannes hotel can also be found on La Croisette. The building with its two domed towers has housed many celebrities through the different editions of the Cannes Film Festival. You can take part in some of the splendor by dining in one of the Carlton’s restaurants, where you will also have an amazing view of the Meditteranean Sea across the Boulevard. After dinner you can try your hand at some gambling at one of the nearby casinos, such as the legendary Casino Croisette, or explore the bustling nightlife in the city, at for example the exclusive Palais Club near the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.
After a day of exploring the city, window shopping and maybe even dancing, you probably want to give your feet some rest. If you’re visiting with friends or family, staying in a vacation rental apartment in Cannes can be a great affordable alternative compared to staying in a hotel. We have many vacation rentals available in the city center of Cannes that will give you the opportunity to explore the city at your leisure, while getting to feel like a local!
Take for example this 1-bedroom vacation rental apartment in Cannes. Located on the Boulevard Jean Hibert right next to the Mediterranean Sea, this apartment is just a couple of blocks away from Le Vieux Port. Staying in this apartment you have the comfort of your own home, with a fully-furnished bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom, while also being able to enjoy splendid views of the Mediterranean Sea right from your private balcony!
9 am – Cannes Beaches
Croisette beach close to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes
After waking up early and enjoying breakfast out on the balcony of your apartment, make your way to one of Cannes’ white sandy beaches! There’s a lovely beach right across from the apartment on the Boulevard Jean Hibert, which is great for tanning and swimming. Alternatively, you can also make your way back to the Boulevard de la Croisette where you will find arguably the most famous beach in Cannes: Plage de la Croisette. In high season this beach can get pretty crowded, so be sure to arrive early to claim your spot.
12 pm – Forville Market
Mediterranean vegetables at the Forville Market in Cannes
Early in the afternoon, get a taste of local Cannes at the Marche Forville, or Forville Market. The outdoor market features fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, breads, cheeses and more. Here you can find all the ingredients you need to create your own Mediterranean dinner. You can find the farmers market Rue du Marché Forville about three block north from Le Vieux Port. The market usually closes around 2 pm or even earlier, so be sure to get there in time. Forville Market is open seven days a week, but on Mondays the whole place is turned into an antiques market. Also be sure to explore the area around the market, where you will find many cafes and bars that are often filled with locals.
6 pm – French Cuisine at Home
Back at the apartment you can try your hand at cooking a Mediterranean Dinner! Whether you stick to a safe option, such as making a fresh salad, served with a baguette and French cheese, or go for something a little riskier such as creating your own version of the region’s famous fish dish bouillabaisse, you’ll find all the necessary cooking equipment in your own kitchen. Need some French cuisine inspiration? Check out this article for some traditional Southern French dishes. Serve your meal outside on the balcony, and don’t forget a bottle of wine from the region! Enjoy your last evening in Cannes with a real French dinner as you watch the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this little overview of things to do in Cannes in 48 hours! Of course there are many more things to see and do in this Southern French City.
Have we missed any of your favorite spots in Cannes? Let us know in the comment section below!